Gordon Brown: Poll tax-style riots loom with Universal Credit roll-out

Gordon Brown has warned of poll tax-style chaos
Gordon Brown has warned of poll tax-style chaos
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Former Prime Minister Gordon has called for a controversial overhaul of the UK Benefits system to be halted amid fears that more than five million children will be pushed to the breadline.

The ex-Labour leader has branded Universal Credit "cruel and vindictive far beyond austerity" and as big a fiasco as the controversial Poll Tax introduced by Margaret Thatcher during the 1980s and 1990s.

Mr Brown made his comments during a speech at the University of Edinburgh today honouring the late Motor Neurone Disease campaigner Gordon Aikman.

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"To impose universal credit - and to force three million to reapply for their benefits from next year - when, on top of a child benefits freeze, the Government is spending almost £3billion less is chaotic, cruel and vindictive, far beyond austerity," he said.

“So I am calling today for the Government to abandon the 2019 national roll out of Universal Credit and end this harsh, harmful and hated experiment.

“We need an urgent review on the lines suggested by the Child Poverty Action Group to be instigated and we must hear the voices of those who know what it’s like to have help cut short."

Mr Brown insisted the UK Government is worried out about the impact of Universal Credit being rolled out with extra cash announced for Citizen's Advice to help with the process and additional funding for food banks.

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He added: “Surely the greatest burning injustice of all is children having to go to school ill-clad and hungry. It is the poverty of the innocent – of children too young to know they are not to blame. But the Conservative Government lit the torch of this burning injustice and they continue to fan the flames with their £3billion of cuts."

And civil unrest could be looming next year as the impact of the changes hit home.

"A return to poll tax-style chaos in a summer of discontent lies ahead," he warned.